Smiling is powerful. Experts agree that the simple act of smiling can really transform you. Studies suggest that a smile can make us appear more attractive to others. It is contagious and regardless of your mood, it can improve your overall health and wellbeing. Following are some of the key ways smiling benefits us.
Helps You Live Longer
It’s a well-known fact that smiling makes us look younger. But this benefit goes beyond just an appearance. Over the course of a lifetime, smiling can actually help us live longer. While more research is needed on the subject, it is suggested that maintaining a positive, happy mood has the potential to increase lifespan by years.
Smiling doesn’t just make us look happy, it actually makes us feel happy as well. It basically tickles our body into helping us feel better. Every time we smile, neurotransmitters that are responsible for our happiness, e.g. serotonin and dopamine, are released into our bloodstream. These neurotransmitters help our body feel good and relax. In short, smiling has the power to lower anxiety and stress levels – even when we fake it.
Smiling is Contagious
Have you ever found that when someone smiles at you, you unintentionally smile back? According to research, this happens because of Mirror Neurons, which allow us to respond to the act of smiling by imitating it. This then also causes us to stimulate the emotions that accompany the act of smiling. So, smiles really can be contagious.
Boosts the Immune System
The physical act of smiling can boost the immune system of your body. When you smile (even if you force it), your brain releases neurotransmitters that work to fight illnesses and stress. According to a study, laughter (which usually begins with a smile) increases infection-fighting antibodies and immune cells, hence improving your resistance to illnesses.
When you are in pain, smiling is the last thing you probably want to do. However, keep in mind that smiling has been shown to help ease any form of pain that you could be experiencing. The act of smiling releases endorphins, which elevates your mood. These particular hormones are also natural painkillers. So, not only do they relax your body and make you feel good, but they also reduce pain.
Makes You Attractive
Ever wonder why people usually ask you to smile before taking a photo? Because we generally look our best – and happiest – when we smile. According to a study, smile makes us appear more attractive and appealing. Not to mention smiling can also make you look more approachable and youthful.
As you can see from these benefits, smiling isn’t just a way to show that you are friendly or happy. It also benefits us in a number of different ways. The best thing about it is that it doesn’t cost you anything to do it. So, the next time you are feeling down, try to smile and notice the difference it makes.
Photos by: Allef Vinicius, Jacqueline Munguia, Brooke Cagle, Helena Lopes, Vlad Chețan, Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas, Guilherme Almeida